Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey, Iran to sign power line deal, official says

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey and Iran will sign an agreement in Ankara on Tuesday under which power transmission lines will be built between the two countries, a senior Turkish energy ministry official said.

He told Reuters the agreement also envisaged electricity sales and purchases between the two countries during peak hours.

Defying opposition from the United States, Turkey signed a preliminary agreement with Iran in August for construction of transmission lines, estimated to cost $1.5 billion.

Under this agreement, Ankara plans to import between 3 and 6 billion kilowatt/hour of electricity and envisages completion of construction within a year.

The agreement also includes construction of three natural gas-fired power stations with a total of 6,000 megawatt capacity and a 10,000 megawatt-capacity hydropower station.

Washington has urged its allies, including NATO-member Turkey, to cut business ties with Tehran over Iran's nuclear programme. Western countries say Iran is trying to build nuclear bombs, although Tehran says its aims are purely peaceful.

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